MacGyver has finished a mission to Zurich so the Phoenix Foundation have signed MacGyver up for a hot air balloon rally over the Alps. In mid-air he enjoys a champagne toast with a female friend.
An American pilot is flying an experimental GX-1 jet over the Alps when Russian jets intercept him. The pilot breaks radio silence and calls in to base to let them know his situation. The pilot tries to climb beyond the MIG fighter’s maximum height but they manage to damage the plane before he evades them. The pilot calls in his coordinates as an engine blows out, and then eject as a wing blows off the plane.
Pete arrives to greet MacGyver when he lands and informs him that the GX-1 has gone missing and they need MacGyver’s help. The plane is designed to evade all sensing equipment and they need someone to go in past the East German border to find it. MacGyver prepares to say goodbye to his friend Heidi and discovers that Nikki is coming along. They start bickering but Pete insists that they’ll be going across the border to a resort as a married couple. After that, they can separate and go their own way. The two agents reluctantly agree.
At a nearby hotel, the trio goes over the flight recording and Pete warns the pilot is presumed dead. They have a rough idea of where the plane crashed. However, he warns that the Russians want the infra-red screening device and that they have a psychic working for them, Starkoss. Pete has a smuggled tape of Starkoss, a star who lives like a king. Even American Intelligence considers him authentic. MacGyver is skeptical but Nikki isn’t so sure.
In Moscow, Colonel Markov has Starkoss examine pictures of the GX-1. He gets psychic impressions of the pilot and realizes that the Russians fired at the American. Starkoss demands a map and manages to indicate where the GX-1 went down.
At Aspenhaus, East Germany, MacGyver manages to talk them past the border guards and they get to the resort. Helmut, a handsome man and the hotel spa attendant, arrives to greet them and Nikki flirts with him. MacGyver is less than thrilled. He takes off for the mountains on his own while Nikki goes inside. Markov and Starkoss are leaving the resort and Nikki spots the psychic, recognizing him. She drives after MacGyver and finds his car, and is forced to go into the mountains after him.
MacGyver is hiking when he spots the Russian helicopter bearing Markov and Starkoss. As he proceeds by compass, Nikki tries to catch up and stumbles into a stream. A passing farmer spots her and she offers to buy his horse. He doesn’t speak English but she manages to purchase it from him.
That night, MacGyver is camping when he hears a noise. He hides in the woods and surprises a cold and wet Nikki when she comes to the fire. She explains that the horse threw her and she’s been walking ever since. He offers her dry clothing and as she changes, she tells him that she saw Starkoss. MacGyver realizes they’re heading for the target zone and thanks Nikki for giving him the info. She realizes he has only one sleeping bag and has no interest in sharing body heat. After a long cold night, Nikki warms herself by the fire and compliments MacGyver on acting like a perfect gentleman. They proceed on foot and find Markov, Starkoss, and his men at a mine shack. The pilot, dead, is hanging from a tree by his parachute. Starkoss takes a piece of clothing and determines that the plane has crashed further up the mountain. MacGyver watches Starkoss through his binoculars… and realizes the psychic knows he’s there.
Once the Russians leave, MacGyver cuts down the pilot and examines his equipment. Nikki examines his wallet and finds a note from Starkoss saying to follow him. She wonders why Starkoss isn’t telling his superiors that he knows they’re there.
Starkoss and the soldiers find the GX-1 but the psychic suddenly faints. He says he needs time to replenish his energies. Markov has his men secure the area and orders his helicopter in with a bulldozer, MacGyver and Nikki see it from the brush. MacGyver realizes they have to destroy the plane but before they can proceed, Starkoss confronts them and explains that he wants to defect. MacGyver agrees to take him back to America. Starkoss seems to know all about them, and tells Nikki that she’ll save MacGyver’s life. He goes back to the Russians and Nikki is convinced Starkoss is psychic. MacGyver still doesn’t believe it. He tells Nikki to stay there while he plants the explosives and uses the distraction to get Starkoss out.
MacGyver sneaks in and plants the explosives on the wreckage and sets a 30-second timer. He gets out but the Russians see him. One of them prepares to shoot him but Nikki clubs him unconscious. More soldiers shoot and MacGyver loses his grip, rolling down a hill and into the camp. The explosives go off, distracting the soldiers, and MacGyver leaps clear. Starkoss gets to Nikki and tells her they have to leave. Markov assumes MacGyver is dead and orders a search for Starkoss.
That night, Starkoss and Nikki take refuge in an abandoned mine shack and MacGyver finds them. The Russian helicopter is conducting a search and there’s seemingly no way out. MacGyver gets an idea and takes a stove pipe while telling Nikki to get all the fabric she can. Starkoss assures MacGyver that they won’t be captured. He takes MacGyver’s hand and says it’s okay, and MacGyver’s mother forgives him for not going to the funeral. MacGyver almost believes he’s authentic but insists that Starkoss has read his intelligence files. Starkoss explains that he’d had his gift since he was a child but was considered a freak. Nikki returns and MacGyver tells Starkoss they have to get back to work.
The next morning, the helicopter leaves to refuel and Markov prepares to close in on the mine shack, figuring that’s where fugitives have gone to ground. Meanwhile, MacGyver has made glue and is soaking all of the fabric in it. MacGyver and Starkoss take a refrigerator casing apart and then fasten the acetylene gas to stovepipes. He also gives the pilot’s reserve parachute to Nikki just in case. The Russians arrive just in time to see MacGyver’s improvised balloon lift off and fly out of rifle range. Nikki kisses MacGyver in celebration. As they fly across the border, they run out of acetylene gas and head for a nearby mountain. MacGyver tries to lighten the load as much as possible, releasing the acetylene tanks. He realizes he has no choice but to have Nikki jump. She’s less than thrilled as the prospect but safely lands. Starkoss assures MacGyver that they’ll make it and the balloon just clears the mountain.
Later, the balloon goes down and Starkoss realizes that the Americans will treat him as a freak just as the Russians did. He says goodbye to MacGyver and walks away. Nikki catches up on the back of a farm truck and comes after him, complaining. She finally realizes that Starkoss is leaving. The psychic waves to them as he leaves.